How do you get Philly fans to care about Major League Soccer? Easy: Add beer.
The Philadelphia Union’s home opener against Toronto FC at 4:30 p.m. Saturday brings with it the debut of a new beer garden at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester.
Set on the deck above sections 103 and 104, the new Union Ale House will feature beer from six partner breweries. Four are local — Yards, Victory, Yuengling and Sterling Pig — while the other two are big international brands Modelo and Heineken. The variety ensures pours that please all kinds of beer drinkers, from craft aficionados to lager lovers to folks who wouldn’t dare crack open anything other than a Corona.
There will be table tops and general “beer garden”-style decor where fans can enjoy their drafts, according to Union officials, who told Billy Penn that the idea to create beer garden like this had been discussed “on and off for a while.”
Phillies fans have been able to enjoy games from a beer garden perch since 2013, when Citizens Bank Park moved some vendors around to create the stand it calls Alley Brewing Co. The Wells Fargo Center doesn’t have a beer garden per se, since it’s indoors, but Sixers and Flyers fans have the option of helping themselves from several self-serve taps or grabbing a table at the CURE Insurance Club. The Linc doesn’t have a beer garden either, though several concession stands offer local crafts like Victory alongside Miller Lite and other macros.
Talen Energy Stadium has also offered various craft beers at concession stands in the past, but this new setup will allow fans to choose from a large list of beers all in one place. In addition to the main beer garden, Union Ale House will have outposts on the main concourse and on the Toyota Plaza.
“We’ve been supporters of the Sons of Ben [fan club] for a while now,” said Yards founder Tom Kehoe, “but this is the first year we are partnering with the Union. We’re proud and excited.”
So the next time it looks like the Union are headed for another draw — they opened the season with a 0-0 draw at Vancouver and had nine draws last year, almost as many ties as wins (11) and only slightly fewer than their losses (14) — you know where to plant yourself. Head to the beer garden and make that visit to Chester worth the trip.